I love to read but you won’t find too many books in my home. Why? I have an excellent public library! I prefer to borrow my books from my lovely and free library rather than pay money and store them, especially if I won’t reread them. There are definitely exceptions (“Gone with the Wind” for example, and of course “Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash”).
My father, on the other hand, would buy books by the cartload. He loved to own books and his home was filled…bookshelves overflowed, books were piled high on furniture, and crammed into every nook and cranny.
Wherever you fit in this spectrum of minimalist book owner to buying them all, take this week and spend 15 minutes a day decluttering your books.
Day 1 – Evaluate
What types of books do I enjoy reading? What shelves do I already have available in my home? Do my books fit on the shelves now? Am I overwhelmed with the number of books? How would I want my books organized (alphabetical, genre, fiction/nonfiction, size, etc.)? Am I someone who reads a book once or do I like to reread the same books over and over again?
Day 2 – Bookshelf #1
Now that you have some idea of your current book situation and needs, pick a bookshelf to begin the decluttering process. Remove all books from the shelf. Give it a good cleaning. Sort through your books and make three piles: keep, donate, and the think-about pile. Keep the books you enjoy reading or those that are good (up to date) references. Donate those which you have no interest in reading or did not enjoy. If you’re unsure about a few books, they can go into a think-about pile for now. Resort your books by your chosen method (example – size, author, alphabetical, genre, etc) and re-shelf. Don’t forget to give the books a good dusting before they are returned to the shelf!
Day 3-4 – Remaining Bookshelves
Repeat Day 2’s process with your remaining bookshelves. (You will need a day per bookshelf. I’m going to estimate two-three bookshelves per household but if you have more than you will need some more days.)
Day 5 – Think-about Pile Revisited
Remember that think-about pile you made? Here are some helpful points to consider while you decide where to put these books – back on the shelf or to a charity.
- Do you have the room on your current bookshelves?
- Can you see yourself rereading these books in the near future?
- Is there someone in your life that would enjoy having this book more than you?
- If you donated it and then decided to read it, do you have access to a library?
Day 6 – Donation Day
Many libraries accept donations of books in good conditions. Check with your local library. If not, the Salvation Army, Goodwill, and local schools are great places to donate. Don’t forget to get your tax-free donation form filled out and file it away for tax season!